“Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”
Annie Dillard (The Writing Life)
As eBay sellers, who are always shopping estate sales, and yard sales, we run into the hoarding world. It is always shocking no matter how often you see it. Shocking and so, so sad. It is as though that person has been trying all their life to find the one thing that will fill the gaping hole in their soul, and, not finding it in the material world, they keep searching. We have been in houses, large houses, stacked floor to ceiling with everything imaginable; every room, basement, garage, attic, until all that remains is a narrow tunnel. Beyond the house, there are typically multiple storage units similarly stuffed. It's a heartbreaking thing to see.
Some of us don't hoard things, but we hoard our time, our knowledge, our lifetime of learning. Those privileged enough to have been afforded an education, and beyond an education, the leisure of learning whatever we want to learn, have an obligation to give back in some way to society. Like every other species on this planet, we are offered a breadth of possibilities for contributing. There are no ants in a mound who do not have a job to do, no bees in a hive who sit idly and sip nectar while the others work their wings to the nub to provide it. Every human being, unless they are physically or mentally incapacitated, has something of value to share.
A life lived in service to oneself is a sad and lonely life. Annie Dillard writes that a life devoted to pleasing the senses requires more and more to satisfy it, like the hoarder's house. By contrast, “The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet.” Giving away a little of what we have been afforded creates more, not less, abundance. The greatest gift is a happy heart. We feel good about ourselves when we are able to teach what we know, share what we have, and make our life count for something beyond ourselves.
In the Spirit,